The WikiLeaks Iraq video: Anti-American propaganda (UPDATED) (AGAIN)

I first mentioned this story here.

Bob Owens has added to it and nailed what’s really taking place:

Is it the WikiLeakers’ position that only tense, spasmodic Mahdi Army militiamen should be fired upon? That the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization’s stated desire to kill American soldiers — and for that matter, fellow Iraqis, as long as they are Sunnis — should be subservient to the primacy of body language? It’s a bizarre position that only those well-insulated from reality can afford to share.

After 2 minutes and 47 seconds of more of the same, the WikiLeakers finally run the footage shot by the helicopters. There are two versions of the film: the 17:47 short version noted above, and the 39:14 long version. Watch whichever you prefer, but by all means, please watch one of them. As you do so, focus on what the scenes actually depict rather than what WikiLeaks claims to be the case — perhaps you’ll find your view of the WikiLeaks’ story evolving, from one of disgust with a callous military towards revulsion and sadness regarding the sometimes tragic consequences of war.

You may even feel anger towards WikiLeaks’ self-proclaimed truth-tellers.

After nearly three minutes of telling viewers how to perceive the footage, the grainy black-and-white gun camera footage from a flight of AH-64 Apaches finally comes into view. The helicopters — call-signs Crazy Horse 18 (lead aircraft) and Crazy Horse 19 (wingman) — assume a protective overwatch position, providing aerial support and reconnaissance for elements of the U.S. Second Brigade Combat Team (2nd BCT) on the ground. These ground troops are conducting a sweep through a Shiite slum during the height of the “Surge,” and are attempting to locate and destroy weapons caches belonging to the Mahdi Army. The Mahdi Army is a Shiite paramilitary organization that operates like an organized crime family, and is infamous for both kidnapping fellow Iraqis for ransom and for brutal acts of sectarian violence — including beheadings and assassinations of Iraqi civilians and police.

As the 2nd BCT conducts their search operations, they encounter small arms fire and the deadly missiles known as rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs. Similar attacks had been going on all morning, and the streets were eerily absent of civilians — a telling sign in these neighborhoods, where children play soccer in the streets when they know it is safe.

Soldiers on the ground had just reported contact with the enemy, when the two Apaches located a sizable group of military-aged men sauntering through a nearby neighborhood. The pilots and gunners of the helicopters circle the group from 800 meters away, well within the range of their weapons, but outside the range where the group might easily notice them.

The pilot in the trailing Apache notices a group of men, and the camera focuses on them just before a pair of Mahdi Army scouts slip away on a moped. The crews call out their confirmation of visible weapons in the group, and the camera clearly captures at least one man carrying an AK-pattern assault rifle, and another beside him carrying a RPG launcher with a live rocket locked in place. A third man cradles another rocket under his arm.

You’ll want to read Part I in its entirety. And know that it’s the first of a promised two parter.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.

UPDATE: Greyhawk, himself an Iraq War veteran, weighs in with a cogent and most detailed and substantive post.  Go, read, digest, pass on.

UPDATE II: Rusty is reporting that the WikiLeaks video has a 20 minute gap and he’s playing a part of the video that clearly shows men with weapons.

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  • GarandFan

    “Although some of the men appear to have been armed, the behavior of nearly everyone was relaxed….”

    So says the armchair generals. Here’s a hint; if you’re in a combat zone and you’re armed, you’re fair game for the opposition. If you’re a “journalist” in the middle of an armed group during a conflict, you’re stupid.

  • ExSubNuke

    So says the armchair generals. Here’s a hint; if you’re in a combat zone and you’re armed, you’re fair game for the opposition. If you’re a “journalist” in the middle of an armed group during a conflict, you’re stupid.

    And if your’e a “journalist” in the middle of an armed group that’s fighting the US Army during a conflict… you’re really REALLY stupid

  • ExSubNuke

    Dangit… that shoulda come out in quotes. I was quoting you GarandFan. Sorry.

  • klrtz1

    Let’s see, what was the name of that fake soldier the left used a few years ago? Jessie Macbeth or something like that wasn’t it?

    If the anti-war left stopped lying, we’d never hear from them again.

  • 914

    This shoulda been on C-SPAN Dammitt!! I want more transparency out of the MSM!

  • Roy

    If you embed with terrorists, you are one. Serves them right.

  • 914

    “If you embed with terrorists, you are one. Serves them right.”

    On the bright side, if your inbred with them, like over at CNN, you get 71 dirty non virgins when your ratings crash! and Anderson gets to wipe up!

  • 914

    Anderson Cooper: skinhead wanna be schizophrenic.

  • GarandFan

    bryanD now adds “expert in combat, expert in flying in combat” to his repertoire of abilities.

  • 914

    Lets see if it appears??

    Steve Green! A Sarah Palin post is in the offing!!

  • 914

    Get off your ass and add your expertease to put an end to the terrorists at an impasse bryanD? Adorn yourself with the wons holy golden unicorn bridle and save us all please..

  • engineer

    “The Apache crew made a mistake in target ID.”

    No they didn’t, there were armed combatants in the group. Everybody in a group doesn’t have to be armed. If that were the case, then every group of combatants would make wure at least one member was unarmed. They were 800 meters away, that over 800 yard, or the length of 8 football fields away, over half a mile. Even with binoculars, you aren’t motionless in a helicopter, you don’t get an eagle eyed view.

    “Then the Apache crew compounded that mistake by failing to adhere to the rules of engagement regarding downed aggressors (wounded/non-threatening) and firing on an (ad hoc) ambulance.”

    If it isn’t marked, you can’t assume it is an ambulance. Should they just wait and get shot at first? If they were there to render medical assistance, they could have easily signaled their intentions, they didn’t.

  • Wayne

    They found three RPG launchers and multiple grenades at the scene. The Video shows assailants carrying two launchers. Mistaken target ID my ass. It amazes me how many blindly believe such media propaganda BS.

  • 914

    Baghdad Barry Goebbles is smilin

  • hvywgt

    Or Minister Magoo!

  • JLawson

    “If it isn’t marked, you can’t assume it is an ambulance.”

    Bingo. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 had EXPLICT instructions on protected classes of people. Medical aid personnel, in properly marked vehicles, were not to be fired upon unless they acted in ways not befitting their status. (Like picking up a rifle and firing it.)

    Black van, no markings, blasting into the scene where insurgents were shot up – it’s a legit target, no matter the purpose it’s there for.

    Black van with big white square with Red Cross or Red Crescent on the side? It’s NOT automatically a legit target. You watch it.

    Black van with big white square with Red Cross or Red Crescent on the side, with men with RPGs pouring out? It just went from ‘protected’ to ‘target’.

    The stuff’s not hard to understand, unless you deliberately don’t want to understand it, and/or believe that anyone the US is fighting automatically has to be the GOOD guys.

    Is war unpleasant? Messy? Ambiguous? Hell, yes. But there ARE accepted conventions, and in this case, it looks like the guys in the Apaches were behaving as they should.

  • Gmac

    Hmm, BD must have made another appearance only to be corrected.

    What I found the most ironic is that they got lit up because one of said ‘journalists’ pointed his telephoto downrange.

    Karma really can be a bitch.

  • jim m

    “The stuff’s not hard to understand, unless you deliberately don’t want to understand it, and/or believe that anyone the US is fighting automatically has to be the GOOD guys.”

    That would be a succinct description of the left.

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